Lenovo has come good on its promise of launching a folding PC that can be used as a laptop or a tablet. The ThinkPad X1 Fold is the ready-for-market version of the prototype the company showed off in May of last year and has a design like that of the Samsung Galaxy Fold whereby the device’s internal screen physically folds to open and close.
While Lenovo has impressively launched the first folding PC you can buy, the existence of the prototype and extensive media coverage from the time means it isn’t much of a surprise.
The design has barely changed from the version we saw over six months ago, with a thick internal bezel around the flexible 13.3in OLED display and book-like, very ThinkPad outside design with optional cover. It’s not exactly svelte.
You can have any colour as long as it’s black and it comes with a physical wireless keyboard that charges when the cover is closed. But the party trick is folding the screen like a laptop and tapping away on the bottom half. The fact Lenovo includes a physical keyboard accessory is very telling as to how well it thinks it has nailed the user experience. You can use it as below fully unfolded, or rested on the folded unit like a laptop.
The flexible plastic display is a 13.3in QXGA OLED with a 2048 x 1536 resolution and a 4:3 aspect ratio and has full touch input. We wager it’s better to use as a tablet with two apps running side by side, or one in full screen.
The X1 Fold will be available in mid-2020, starting at $2,499 USD. Lenovo hasn’t released pricing for the different tiers of configurations but promises Intel Core processors, 8GB RAM, up to 1TB storage and 11 hours of battery life. Lenovo hadn’t previously revealed the specs of the device, which weighs less than a kilogram.
It runs Windows 10, but Lenovo said it’ll release a version later down the line with Windows 10 X, the same modified version of Windows designed for dual screen devices that Microsoft announced with its own upcoming Surface Neo - a device that also folds but has a physical hinge and two glass displays rather than the one folding plastic display of the X1 Fold.
While the tech is impressive, the X1 Fold looks a lot like the prototype and will likely be remembered as one. With the bulky cover and physical keyboard that proves that its on-screen typing experience sucks, it looks like an unfinished vision of the future and one you probably won’t want to fork out for.
Keep an eye out for our hands-on review from CES to see if it’s better than it looks, despite the technical wizardry.
Lenovo has, amusingly, also announced a very budget looking $24 stand to go with the device that costs over one hundred times as much. It’s design to cradle the X1 Fold in tablet mode while on a desk.